U.S. Car Makers Push for Hydrogen Infrastructure

Having helped kill the electric car last time around, promoters of fuel cell cars are having a tougher sell now

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Manufacturers of cars in the United States are leaning on the government to step up support for hydrogen infrastructure, reports the Bloomberg news service. Car makers including GM, Toyota, Honda, Daimler, Hyundai, Kia, Renault, and Nissan have made it known that they expect to be able to manufacture fuel cell cars running on hydrogen at competitive costs by 2015; the first four say their immediate goal is to shave the extra cost of a hydrogen car versus a regular car to $3,600.

Early in this decade, leading U.S. automakers ditched plans to deploy electric cars after the U.S. government threw its enthusiastic support behind the vision of a "hydrogen economy"--one in which motor vehicles would be powered by fuel cells--which turned out to be much too optimistic. This year Energy Secretary Chu slashed funding for development of fuel cel cars, to some dismay, which prompted Congress to restore funds. Germany's official goal is to have 1,000 hydrogen fueling stations in place by 2015, and in Japan 13 oil and gas companies have joined forces to develop a hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

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